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LN: Czechs should resume compulsory military service

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Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – The Czech Republic should consider resumption of the compulsory military service if Donald Trump became U.S. president and struck deal with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Pavel Novacek writes in daily Lidove noviny (LN) on Wednesday.

Novacek reacts to a commentary carried by LN on August 1, in which Jan Machacek wrote that Trump is a man who overtly challenges the United States’ military commitments in the world.

If a catastrophic scenario materialised, Trump would strike a deal with Russia and “sell” the Baltics and all new NATO member countries, including the Czech Republic, to it, Novacek writes, citing Machacek.

Novacek writes that this is a most improbable event, but if it happened, it would have an utterly fundamental influence on the future of Europe and mainly on further developments in East and Central Europe.

Trump is completely right in demanding NATO allies to immediately start fulfilling their promise to raise armament spending to 2 percent of GDP, Novacek writes.

He writes that the Czechs just as the Slovaks earmark 1.1 percent of GDP for defence. The Hungarians are below 1 percent, while the Poles send 2 percent of GDP to the NATO budget.

Compared with Central Europe, the United States earmarks 4.5 percent of GDP for defence and the Russians 3.5 percent, Novacek writes.

He writes that the military service in former Czechoslovakia under the previous regime was awful because it was considered utterly unnecessary and a loss of time, accompanied by bullying, which could be averted in the current conditions.

The military service could only last nine or six months, not two years like in the past, while the professionals would continue to operate the state-of-the-art equipment, Novacek writes.

He writes that the purpose of the military service would be to learn and train fundamental skills and habits in case of a threat to the country.

Also, this would be one of a few opportunities to teach young men, and possibly also women, to be physically active, Novacek writes.

Those who are opposed to handling weapons for religious or other reasons, could do an alternative service, which was applied after the fall of the previous regime in the 1990s until the military went fully professional, Novacek writes.

He writes that new forces may be also needed inside the country to protect citizens against possible terrorist threats like in Germany and France.

The military service would also allow people to acquire a firearm licence, which does not mean that they all should buy it, but it is in the interest of the state that the licences be issued to well trained applicants and that the acquiring of arms by illegal means be restricted as much as possible, Novacek writes.

Fortunately, it is no longer true that a soldier is a “numbskull” as was said in the past. Soldiers are people who sacrifice their lives in extreme cases, and this deserves respect. But a couple of thousands of professionals will not manage the possible tasks, Novacek writes.

The Polish neighbours give 2 percent of GDP to defence as one a few NATO member countries, by which they send out quite a clear signal that they will be defending their own freedom, Novacek writes.

What signal will the Czechs send to their NATO allies and possible enemies in case Trump and Putin strike a “deal”, Novacek asks.

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